Keepsake NeedleArts

How To Dye with Rhubarb Roots

Rhubarb roots can yield a red or orange natural dye depending on the species


Difficulty Level:


Time Required:

6 hours

Here’s How:

  1. Chop the rhubarb roots into small pieces and place into a large dyepot filled with water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the rhubarb roots 1 – 2 hours to extract the color.
  3. Add clean, pre-mordanted wool to the dyepot.
  4. Reheat the dyepot to just below simmering temperature.
  5. For clear yellow shades, turn off the heat, and let the wool sit in the dyepot overnight to absorb the color.
  6. For darker shades of yellow/green simmer the wool for x-about an hour. Then turn off the heat and let the wool absorb the remaining color.
  7. After dyeing, remove the wool, rinse in cool water and let dry.



  • To get coral/red shades, add an alkaline modifier (washing soda) to the dyepot.
  • An iron afterbath will give olive shades. 

    Rhubarb Root Dye
    Rhubarb roots soaked in ammonia.

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    This page last edited on November 12, 2014


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